How the procurement process can boost data center efficiency

Transportation and manufacturing typically receive the most attention when discussions about climate change arise, but data centers contribute to ecological damage as well. 

In order to reduce the impact these facilities have on the environment, enterprises can leverage procurement services to help them find hyper-efficient servers and virtualization software. Choosing the optimal equipment and pairing it with world-class programs can go a long way. 

Who's to blame? Why? 

The Natural Resources Defense Council recently conducted a study on the matter, discovering that large operations sanctioned by tech companies often employ best practices when it comes to data center efficiency. However, this particular contingency represents a small fraction of the data centers currently online in the U.S. 

Overall, the report discovered the nation's data centers consumed about 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity last year. Further investigation showed the average server runs at around 12 to 18 percent of its capacity. Up to 30 percent of those machines receive power, but are not being used to host applications, store information, etc.

Run a spend analysis 

The NRDC maintained organizations should use metrics to help them deduce how much equipment is being used and whether extraneous servers can be removed from facilities. From there, decision-makers need to review internal processes to better fit server usage strategies going forward. 

While these processes are useful, virtualization and advanced machinery must also be considered. 

Why virtualization? 

What this particular technique does is take a physical server and segregate it into two or more virtual versions of itself. This enables one tangible machine to handle multiple different tasks. For example, a server operating at 15 percent capacity could be virtualized so that it runs an enterprise resource planning solution and a data visualization program. 

A number of companies, most notably VMware, provide virtualization tools that offer this type of capability. Choosing the right pricing plan requires the expertise of financial analysts and operations specialists cognizant of corporate needs. 

Looking at the hardware 

In addition to procuring software, IT sourcing experts must acknowledge how hardware can ultimately lead to corporate cost reduction. Bloomberg noted Intel recently unveiled the Xeon E5 V3 processors, which Intel Head of Server Business Diane Bryant has lauded as more power-efficient and containing considerably better memory performance than their predecessors. 

Attaining data center efficiency involves much more than acquiring new assets. IT departments and facility administration teams must undergo a fundamental assessment of their processes in order to determine what they could be doing better. 

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